Petra Eggs's Reviews > Sick Girl

Sick Girl by Amy Silverstein
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Jul 13, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: medicine-science, biography-true-story, reviewed
Read in July, 2008

This book is a real page-turner and a fast read. I am not sure why it should be so compelling as the entire book is one long whine about having to have a heart transplant at 24 and the unremittingly dreadful ill-health for the next almost two decades.

Nevertheless, it provides much information on what it is really like to have a transplant. No, the transplantee is not as good-as-new after one and they never will be again. Silverstein makes a good point in saying that the older folks who have a transplant have had a long life and then a long sickness and are grateful for the extra years of better health, but that her heart disease struck her so young she never had a chance to build herself a life first. I don't think her book-length whinge is unjustified and I think a lot of the bad reviews on Amazon are because that is more or less all we know of her: that her suffering has no end. She might have garnered more sympathy if her characterisation of the other people in the book, especially her husband, wasn't quite so one-dimensional. Reading it how she tells it, her husband is a saint and the appearance of halo and wings are expected momentarily.

Also he must be very well-off indeed as they live just around the corner from the Clintons in Westchester, NY. This kind of wealth, which I read about in an interview with her as she herself doesn't mention it, might be at the root of something that mystified me in the book.

It is well-known that adopting a baby is extremely difficult and time-consuming and there are many social security hoops to jump through including proving the suitability to be a parent in every way, personally, materially and emotionally. This is why so many people adopt from abroad and even that is a path fraught with bureaucracy and endless delays. So how come she decides to adopt and despite having only a life-expectancy of two years (and her heart transplant was only expected to last 10 years) and being, as the book details, still very sick indeed, manage to get a newborn white American baby in what seems to be a year or less (it isn't detailed). Money? Is this germane to the story? I think so, being a mother is part of the reason she just doesn't give up and let herself die.

It is now 20 years since the transplant. The author qualified and practiced as a lawyer and then gave it up to be a writer. She now makes her living as a motivational speaker - her topic is her experience and organ transplants in general. From whine to inspiration is a long, internal journey. I'm glad she made it.

updated 25 July 2014
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Kwesi 章英狮 I saw a lot of copies of this book from a secondhand bookstore maybe I'll buy this soon. Nice review.


Petra Eggs Thank you.


Kwesi 章英狮 You are welcome.


message 4: by Caroline (new)

Caroline What an amazing review. You have such original perspectives. Fascinating.....

Anyway, it sounds as though things have worked out okay for her in the long run. She certainly sounds like she traversed some highway and byways in her journey.


message 5: by Aditi (new)

Aditi Wow, such an endearing review!


message 6: by Joe (new)

Joe What a contrast with your update on The Road of Lost Innocence; wild twists on heart-rending stories. Great review.


Petra Eggs Joseph wrote: "What a contrast with your update on The Road of Lost Innocence; wild twists on heart-rending stories."

One was genuine - this one, but whined a lot along the way. The other - Lost Innocence - was fake, but really upbeat in the telling. The revelation of both was more in Googling them than the books.


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